Jason Gima Wuri | Post Courier
19 September 2012
The poor application of international laws and Papua New Guinea laws and policies on the Deep Sea Mining is a very serious challenge in managing and protecting the resources of the oceans and health of communities in PNG.
Head of Environmental Sciences and Geology at the University of PNG (UPNG) Professor Chalapan Kaluwin made these comments when summarising the Seabed mining forum this week.
He said such international laws as the United Nations Law of the Sea, UNCLOS, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Laws, Noumea Treaty, UNCED agreement and PNG’s laws and policies which were Mining Acts, Environmental Act etc on the Deep Sea Mining ( Solowara 1).
“It is important to know that there is no Deep Sea Mining Policy in the world in managing such resource for PNG government and its stakeholders must understand this status.
“In addition coupled with the relative short term ( 2-3 years) scientific and environment results, studies (mainly desk top models) and reports carried in the Solowara 1 region ( EIS/EIA report) submitted to the PNG government for Phase 1 (30 Months Project) should be treated with caution and precautionary principles must be applied until full scientific proof is available,” Professor Chalapan said.
The forum raised questions such as; why should PNG government agree to mine in the Ocean floor at a depth of more than 1,500 meters if the land resources are abundant and plentiful for a 7 million people for more than 50 years and beyond, with lack of capacity and expertise in these sectors?
“Can we tell the developer to go back into its back yard or other countries to trial this initiative worth US$1 billion (EIS-Phase 1 for 30 months) if their ocean mining policies are in place? Yes you can.
“Application of adaptive technology in the tropical marine ecosystem has very serious limitation on PNG in deep sea mining must be evaluated and monitored for its mitigation purpose. Given the Sustainable Development (economic, environment and livelihoods) scenarios and assessments of PNG and coupled with too questions and uncertainty on the Solowara 1 project, the PNG government and its people must defer the implementation of this pilot project for the time being, if the Bougainville Copper Limited lesson is to be model for the Bismarck Seas and its provinces.
“Our review and analysis on documents, our experiences and based on the above and the EIS for Phase One of Solowara 1 strongly believe that Solowara 1 pilot project will be a long Term Disaster for PNG and the health of its people,” Professor Chalapan said.